Feeds

Pesticides fingered in UK honeybee wipeout

Further suspicion falls on neonicotinoids

Remote control for virtualized desktops

A new study appears to have confirmed suspicions that the neonicotinoid group of pesticides is in part responsible for the dramatic decline in UK honeybee numbers, the Telegraph reports.

Insect research charity Buglife and the Soil Association "brought together a number of peer-reviewed pieces of research" which demonstrate that neonicotinoids "damage the health and life cycle of bees over the long term by affecting the nervous system".

Previous scientific tests suggested a possible link between one of the neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, and disruption of honeybees' "sophisticated communication and navigation systems". Fears over the chemical earlier this year prompted the Co-op to ban the use of all neonicotinoids on its 70,000 acres of land in in England and Scotland, "until they are shown to be safe".

Germany, Italy and Slovenia last year similarly banned all neonicotinoids in response to the honeybee crisis, while French farmers have not been able to deploy imidacloprid as a sunflower seed-dressing for ten years.

Matt Shardlow, Buglife chief exec, said: “Other countries have already introduced bans to prevent neonicotinoids from harming bees. This is the most comprehensive review of the scientific evidence yet and it has revealed the disturbing amount of damage these poisons can cause."

Peter Melchett, director of the Soil Association, added: “The UK is notorious for taking the most relaxed approach to pesticide safety in the EU. Buglife’s report shows that this puts at risk pollination services vital for UK agriculture."

However, Dr Julian Little of Bayer CropScience - which manufacturers oilseed rape insecticide Chinook, containing imidacloprid - said that pesticides are "not approved unless it is found they have no effects on insects like bees".

He insisted: "When it comes to bee health, pesticides are not the problem, disease is."

Whether Dr Little is right remains to be seen. The Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs' initial findings as to the cause of honeybee population collapse suggested "the possible implication of abnormally wet weather - which may have hindered the bees' ability to collect enough food to survive the winter - coupled with the single-celled fungus Nosema, which might have taken advantage of the insects' rain-induced confinement and stressed state to spread with deadly effect", as we put it back in January. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.